In addition to receiving names, Rosalie’s cubs got a clean bill of health during their last “cub” exam on February 2. As I mentioned in our last update, the cubs are too big to handle at this point – and they do not want to be held.
Using positive reinforcement training, we have successfully gotten the cubs to voluntarily step on the adult scale in exchange for a favorite treat, such as beef blood from a squeeze bottle! As of February 18, they weighed between 19 and 24 pounds, which is about average for 18-week-old cheetah cubs.
Next, we will train the cubs to voluntarily receive their flea and tick prevention medication and their vaccinations. This starts with introducing the cubs to a pole with a syringe attached to the end and getting them used to eating in the building stalls. We will use something called a sideboard — a piece of wood that makes the stall smaller — to direct the cubs, one at a time, to stay close to the mesh so we can easily inject any medicine or treatments while still rewarding them.
Despite how big the cubs are now, Rosalie has remained a very tolerant mother. If you tune into the Cheetah Cub Cam you might catch the cubs climbing up and sleeping on her as if she’s a giant pillow! I think she’s one of our most patient cheetah mothers we’ve had.